At JKP Solutions we are used to helping business owners evaluate the activity of their business at various functional levels within their organisation and set up processes, procedures and metrics to ensure the business works smoothly and that the owners can run the business effectively and spend time planning future activity.
However, the Covid-19 pandemic has caused many businesses to face significant challenges. For some these have been how to significantly increase their activity, for some it has meant a need to hunker down and wait for things to return to “normal” and for some it has provided the opportunity or challenge to carry out significant change in the way the business was run. One thing that we have been seeing with a few our clients is that the business owners are now having to wear many HATS in their business. Whilst this has been challenging it has also provided them with a unique opportunity to experience the inner workings of their business. This insight is a unique opportunity and one that should not be overlooked. In fact, there are a number of significant benefits from being forced to carry out this exercise.
So, what are the key steps we believe you should be implementing to take full advantage of the many HATS you have been wearing over recent weeks?
The organisation chart shown below identifies the key elements of a business. For each key business function, we would identify activity at four levels. We call this our AMES effect. Activity, Management, Evolution, Shareholders.
These are all HATS that business owners will have been putting on over the recent weeks.
So, what is the process we recommend in order to capitalise on your recent activity. Normally we would advocate a top-down approach to business planning but in this specific scenario it is a different approach that is recommended.
Start with the Activity level tasks for the HAT that you have been wearing.
- Identify the specific roles needed to provide the service / manufacture the product etc.
- Define the key activity within each of these roles.
- Produce “simple” documentation to identify how you want the role to be carried out, the key deliverables for each activity and WHY you want it done the way you do.
- Define the key performance indicators you can put in place to confirm the activity is happening as you want it to.
- Review the team members responsible for the activity and ensure they have appropriate training and understanding of their role and how it interacts with other functions and contributes to overall business success.
Next look at the Management HAT
- Identify key management roles required and approximately what percentage of their time will need to be spent managing as opposed to carrying out the activity.
- Review the key performance measures already defined and ensure they will provide the management structure with appropriate information to show how their area of responsibility is performing.
- Define the management reporting structure to senior management levels and or shareholders.
Now it is the Evolution HAT or in other words how the general management of the business has provided the direction and support needed for the business to evolve.
- Having a well-defined management structure with appropriate job roles, operating procedures and key metrics will free up your time to think about the evolution of the business, set the future strategy and look for new opportunities and markets that may be developing as a result of the significant changes in social behaviour that are taking place along with the financial shock to the economy.
- At senior management level ensure the management reporting structure is in place and being followed. Maintain routine contact with other management levels and review key performance measures.
- Set up a routine management review where key metrics are monitored, improvement opportunities evaluated and where appropriate operational / personnel changes discussed and agreed. At these meeting it is important that actions are set with clearly defined owners and timelines.
You may feel that the advice we have given all sounds a bit overly corporate for your business. We would agree that the basic principles are those we would expect to find in any professionally managed corporate company, that is simply because they work. Even if your business is not yet the size you feel it needs to be in order to implement these principles our experience says that any business of any size can implement this approach and remember each role does not have to be a unique person or group of people. It is perfectly acceptable for one person to wear a number of HATS, the important thing is recognising the HATS they are wearing and the importance that HAT has in relation to the overall business performance and success.